10 tips on being an effective social media freelancer

Social media freelancers are great at utilizing tips, tools, and hacks to manage their time and deliver results. Check out this guide to learn how you can do it too.

10 tips on being an effective social media freelancer

Social Media Freelancer Tips

Reports show the average pay for social media managers is $46,678 per year. This isn't a huge paycheck, considering that the average national salary is around $56,000.

However, highly successful social media professionals can earn a lot more than this. The top 10% of social media managers earn up to and above $94,000

But how do you reach this level of success? What are the secrets involved in joining the ranks of the top-earning social media freelancers?

Being a social media manager is a demanding job, and it can be even more demanding if you're doing it freelance. 

Fortunately, there are a variety of habits, tips, and strategies you can copy from other highly effective social media freelancers. Implementing these habits and practices will help you stay organized, manage your time wisely, achieve success, and stand out from the pack. 

Keep reading to find out what they are. 

Create a distraction-free workspace

If you're starting a social media freelancing career, one of the first steps is to create a distraction-free work environment. 

As most of us are well aware, social media itself is jam-packed with distractions. Successful social media professionals are usually the ones that can strike a balance between monitoring trends, while still being able to focus, manage their time, and nail their deliverables. 

This can be a challenge, given that part of your job is literally to be on social media and keep an eye on what's going on. The last thing you need is a chaotic workspace that's bringing even more distractions from the outside into your work zone. 

Try to carve out a space in your home reserved solely for your social media freelancing work. Ideally, this space should have a door and be able to protect you from distractions that are taking place in your home. 

If you live solo, then this isn't as critical. But if you have a family, working at a desk in the living room or at the dining table can get very distracting. 

If you can't dedicate a room to work in, you can also utilize focusing hacks like listening to lo-fi music with headphones on or using the Pomodoro Technique. You should also communicate your need for focus to your family, making sure they understand that just because you have to work at a desk in the living room doesn't mean that you're available the whole time. 

Plan and pre-schedule out content

If you have some experience in social media, then you probably know that most of the best brand accounts run on a pre-scheduled content calendar. This is something that all successful and experienced social media freelancers implement. 

Publishing social media posts at the last minute is not the way to run a cohesive campaign. Effective campaigns take a lot of planning and work behind the scenes. 

Ideally, you should always be working on posts that are due to come out in the future, not ones that are due the next day or in a few hours. Not only does this allow you to create more cohesive campaigns, but it also offers time to resolve errors. 

Who knows, maybe the simple-seeming Instagram photo doesn't turn out the way you planned and you have to rethink it? The more of a time buffer you have for dealing with these things, the better. 

Task batch

A popular practice among social media freelancers is task batching. Task batching is a productivity method whereby you batch certain related tasks. This can save time and increase focus. 

It's also especially well-suited for freelancers on social media. For instance, instead of taking one Instagram photo every day for a brand, you can batch weeks' worth of photos into one or two shoots. 

Then, you can batch creating the captions and schedule the posts to go out on the days you want. 

This method of working is far more effective than jumping from client to client every day as you work on individual posts. 

Keep a finger on the social pulse

One of the key elements of being a successful social media freelancer is keeping your finger on the pulse.

Social media managers have to stay in tune with social sentiments, trends, movements, and best practices. They also have to stay up-to-date on the latest platforms and types of content that are performing best for each. 

Those who are highly successful at social media freelancing know this. Therefore, they make it a habit to keep up with key social media developments. 

This is very important not, only for identifying trends, but also for maintaining relevancy and relatability for your clients. For instance, if there is a serious matter shaking the internet, the last thing you want to do is publish an ill-timed post that is frivolous and sales-ey. 

This will come across as insensitive and very out of touch. By keeping your finger on the pulse of social trends, topics, and movements, you can ensure that your clients' content always stays relevant and attuned to broader social sentiments. 

Analyze great campaigns and content

Another habit that highly successful freelancers have is analyzing brand campaigns and content. 

Although brands can often take tips from influencers and hop on some of the social trends, their content typically requires a more refined approach. 

Because of this, you shouldn't just be looking at influencer content. Instead, start deeply analyzing how companies are utilizing social media to build their brands. 

Besides consuming brand content on social media, you can also listen to discussions and interviews on social media topics, attend social media marketing events, and research case studies. 

Develop strong proposals

Nowadays, social media management isn't just about posting to accounts. 

Brands want results, and they want to know for sure that you will be able to achieve growth for them. 

Professional social media freelancers start all of their contracts with in-depth proposals that cover everything from analysis to the scope of work, deadlines, milestones, proof of work, etc. 

Creating in-depth proposals doesn't only show brands how you can achieve growth for them. They are also vital for ensuring you and your client stay on the same page from day one. 

For instance, let's say you tell the client that you will do brand keyword monitoring for them. However, you don't specify exactly how many keywords you're going to monitor. Down the line, this could cause issues if the client expects you to monitor every single keyword associated with them. You will be left trying to explain that if they want this extra work, they will need to pay you more. 

Therefore, be as detailed as you possibly can with your proposals. Quantify everything, and specify things such as when you will be able to engage on social and what hours you are available to the client. 

Does this sound like a lot of work, before you've even gotten a contract? It is, but we can help. 

Here at Hectic, we know how vital detailed proposals are for freelancing success. We also know how long they can take to create. This is why we have developed a powerful proposal builder in our suite of tools. 

With the Hectic proposal and contract builder, you can create proposals in a fraction of the time it would usually take. You can choose from pre-made templates, create clones, or start from scratch. 

You can also reuse proposals and seamlessly turn them into legally sound contracts once clients approved them.

Create watertight contracts

One of the most critical parts of freelancing is to make sure that every job has a rock-solid contract behind it. Besides protecting you legally, you can also refer clients back to their contract any time there are disputes around what your responsibilities are. Contracts keep everyone on the same page and are the ultimate scope creep killer. 

This is why successful social media freelancers always create contracts with their clients. 

Like proposals, contracts for social media services should also be as detailed as possible. The time you spend making your contracts comprehensive and specific will be more than worthwhile should you run into disputes with a client. 

They are also an important legal document if clients decide not to pay. 

What's more, our contract builder feature makes creating professional, legally sound contracts easy and quick. If you have already generated a proposal, you can effortlessly turn this into an air-tight contract that is clear yet detailed. 

Our contracts include industry-standard e-signatures, as well as legally vetted terms.

Finally, you can collect signatures right within the app, eliminating the need for back-and-forths. This makes the paperwork process more organized, professional, and manageable. 

Streamline client communications

Picture a successful freelance social media manager who's at the top of their game. Would they be frantically jumping between voice notes, DMs, and emails when communicating with their collection of A-list clients? Probably not. 

Instead, they would have a streamlined system for professionally communicating with clients. 

Communicating with clients is a big part of freelancing. It's important to simplify the client management process. 

One of the big issues with client management is the time it takes to filter through past communications, job details, and documents. This is especially time-consuming if you are working in multiple applications, such as your inbox, Google Drive, DMs, invoicing tool, bank statements, etc. 

Hectic takes the hassle out of client management by allowing you to manage all of your clients and their projects from one easy-to-use dashboard. You can communicate with clients directly from the app, generate and send invoices, get payment notifications, check off milestones, and more.

Use time tracking

If you're billing on an hourly basis, tracking your time is a prerequisite. 

However, a lot of social media work is billed by deliverables instead of by the hour. If you are billing on deliverables instead of hours worked, you should still track your time. Here's why. 

A lot of highly effective people leverage things like time tracking, time blocking, or calendar blocking to ensure they are utilizing their time efficiently. 

If you don't track time spent on tasks, you can easily spend far more hours than you should on a specific deliverable. You might also waste time with distractions and disorganized working. 

Tracking your time also gives you a clear insight into how much time you are spending on each task. This might lead to you making changes, either to your rates for certain things or to how you complete specific tasks. 

For example, you might find that you spend way too long every month sending out invoices. This might be a good indication that you should leverage Hectic's integrated invoicing feature that can cut this time down to seconds instead of hours. 

Tracking your time is also a great way to keep yourself focused on the task at hand. The core principle of a lot of time management techniques is setting time limits for tasks. By tracking your time, you can gauge how long tasks are taking you and set limits to help trigger enhanced focus. 

Our time tracking feature is the perfect tool to help you with this, as you can:

  • Use it from any page,
  • Include job details 
  • Get an instant graphics-based visual on how you spend your time

If you are billing a client by the hour, you can effortlessly turn your tracked hours into an invoice in a few clicks. 

Outsource

One of the habits of successful freelancers, in general, is knowing when to outsource. As one person, you only have so much capacity and so much time. 

Outsourcing tasks can help you scale to meet the demands of a big client and ensure you nail all of your deadlines with ease.  

Hectic's team feature also makes the process of collaborating and outsourcing to other freelances incredibly simple and streamlined. From the Hectic dashboard, you can manage collaborators, assign tasks, and roll their billable hours into your client's invoice. 

Unplug

Lastly, successful social media freelancers understand the value of unplugging. Social media must be one of the most "plugged-in" jobs on the planet. Social media never sleeps and it doesn't take weekends off.

It's also a form of entertainment and communication for a lot of us. As a social media manager, it can easily get to the point where your free time doesn't allow you to switch off because you're constantly connected to social platforms. 

Numerous studies have revealed that working long hours and being "always on" impacts both productivity and wellbeing. So do yourself (and your business) a favor. Maximize your effectiveness and schedule time to unplug every week. 

Are you planning a career in social media freelancing?

A career in freelance social media can be fulfilling, lucrative, and flexible. Now that you know about the top habits, strategies, and techniques that successful social media freelancers use, you're primed to start maximizing your time and earning ability. 

Before you start growing those client accounts like a boss, we recommend you try out Hectic. 

You get one client for free, for life, and full access to all of our time-saving features. Streamline your workflow and client management and sign up here today.